Court delays could leave Bathurst voters in limbo even longer

STILL WAITING: Local Government Minister and Bathurst MP Paul Toole.

STILL WAITING: Local Government Minister and Bathurst MP Paul Toole.

BATHURST voters face the real prospect of waiting another 15 months for council elections after a deadline flagged by the NSW Electoral Commission passed on Wednesday.

The commission had warned that unless a Land and Environment Court decision on forced council amalgamations was handed down by the end of November, those councils still before the courts could likely miss the chance to vote at the next local government elections in September 2017.

Instead, council areas including Bathurst and Oberon might now have to wait until March 2018 for the chance to vote.

Local Government Minister Paul Toole acknowledged the NSWEC deadline had passed but said he was still hopeful that all merged councils would go to the polls next September.

“I am disappointed it is has taken so long for a decision to be handed down,” Mr Toole said.

“All that does is create uncertainty among staff and residents.”

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